Killing Diversity – the Pasteurization of Cultures
August 4th, 2012 | Food Security, Our Food, Raw Milk, animal rights, butcher, culture, Dairy, diversity, food, halal, homogenization, kosher, milk, Nazi, nutrition, pasteurization, preparation, raw milk, rituals, Traditions
Killing Diversity — the Homogenization and Pastuerization of Cultures
Over the weekend we were invited to a lovely dinner party with an eclectic assortment of people. I immediately found myself deep in conversation with a lovely lady from Greece who told me of her favorite technique for making goat’s milk ricotta. The passion and enthusiasm that came through as she described just how the milk is heated and the lemon juice added was simply delicious. I could practically taste the fresh cheese myself. She was soon onto bewailing the fact that she could only get whole milk, pasteurized and homogenized and that the percentage of fat even in the adulterated full cream milk is ridiculously low in comparison to the percentage she was used to when she made it in Greece with raw milk from local goats. (More info: Manipulated ‘Milk’ and the Loss of the Creamline)
I have met so many people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds who have a rich tradition steeped in making various cultured cheeses from fresh unadulterated raw milk. I always find it exciting to listen to them tell of their favorite technique, whether it is making paneer, cottage cheese, cheese curds, mozzerella or simply yogurt. All of them have their own method and speak of it with such passion and animation it actually causes me to salivate just from imagining the delightful dishes.
Considering all of these tales of traditional food preparation it occurred to me that the current push for unilateral pasteurization of milk is on the same timeline as the rise in fear of anyone who is different, who wears different clothes, speaks a different language or has a different culture. It is interesting to note that one of the very first steps that Nazi Germany took in their mission to exterminate Jews, gypsies and anyone different was to ban the practice of kosher butchery (shechitah). Three months after the Nazi party took power–in August 1933–kosher butchery was outlawed. This was the first step down the slippery slope towards ‘normalizing’ the dehumanization of the Jews and ‘others’ and the move towards standardizing every aspect of the lives of the remaining masses.
It is interesting to note that this racist ban has reared it’s ugly head again, in 2010 kosher and halal butchery were banned in New Zealand (I think the ban has been repealed but don’t quote me on that) and just last year Holland, which has recently gained the label of one of the most racist countries in Europe (after kowtowing to the US corporate pressure) for their treatment of Muslims came very close to banning the religious practice of slaughtering animals in the Kosher or Halal tradition. The push for this came under the guise of ‘animal rights’ with this movement being used to declare it to be inhumane–despite the fact that stunning animals can often be more damaging to the animals than the ritual manner used by kosher or halal butchers. Clearly, it is a racist tactic to drive people of a different culture out by destabilizing them via removing their ability to process food in their traditional manner.
This revival of fascist attacks on religious meat processing runs parallel to the North American tactic of insisting on unilateral pasteurization of milk despite the fact that for generations cultures from all over the world–from Africa to India–have successfully processed their own milk from their own animals in the manner that their forefathers/mothers passed down to them. This fear of raw milk is being used as a scapegoat to avoid the fact that industrial farming and dairying are the root of modern food safety issues.
Over and over again throughout history fascist colonizers (who think it is their right to control and exploit the world and humanity as they see fit) target traditional food preparation rituals first. It isn’t hard to see that food is a basic necessity. Everyone has to eat every day to survive. If you control the food you control the culture. If people can’t eat in the manner they are accustomed they will no longer have the nutrition or the security and continuity of the rituals that are the backbone of their lifestyles. This is very destabilizing. We all need our simple daily habits to rely on so that we can pursue other activities, whether it be work or pleasure. It is the foundation of life. Once the daily rituals are altered or controlled by industry a vulnerability is created. People no longer have their grounding and who are constantly subjected to stress, are easily pushed into a fear mentality which makes them easier to control, push around and made to feel subordinate.
I am a member of a cowshare that I find very interesting as I am always meeting people from different cultures. The other day I was speaking to a Hindu from India who told me of how he wished his temple could have access to raw milk for the free meals they provide to their community. I recently met another family from Croatia who told me the only way their son was surviving and growing was because of the nourishing raw milk they had access to. I have met people from Japan, Holland, Italy, France and many more who all tell me of their unique traditions.
My sister worked as the COO of a medical facility serving low income families in Chicago. Their patients include immigrant families as well as families that have lived in the city for generations. One of the remarkable things they noticed is that families who have recently immigrated to the US who still follow their traditional food preparation rituals have children who are much healthier than the families who have succumbed to the instant industrialized highly processed foods that are cheap and easy to eat, right out of the package.
It is increasingly obvious that diversity is our main hope for the future of our world. This push for homogenization of culture, whether it be through forced pasteurization of milk or through the repression of culture through the mass-media stimulated fear of anyone different will be the downfall of us all. We recently watched a documentary produced by the BBC in 2010 on how the wildlife is surviving in Cherynobl. They highlighted the mouse population which, despite the fact that they are consuming radioactive food, breathing radioactive air and sleeping on radioactive ground, are incredibly healthy and display no genetic mutation. In their exploration into why this population is so untouched by the radiation they discovered that the genetic diversity of the mice population is very great. The original mice that lived there were wiped out and the various families of mice from the surrounding areas soon moved in and interbred.
To create stability and to survive in our modern unstable world our hope is in the amazing and beautiful diversity of people, cultures and food preparation techniques. The monoculture deserts industrial agriculture has created make it easy for them to process the food at minimum cost, but are very unstable. Mass pasteurization of milk is not a guaranteed solution to preventing food-borne illness. It is an illusion that is promoted by media that also promotes the illogical notion that anyone who talks a little different, dresses a little different or even walks a little different is to be feared
We need original ideas and an ability to listen to each other to survive. Homogenization and the killing of diverse cultures is guaranteed to fail, this has been proven historically–and as we have seen it causes a lot of unnecessary suffering in the process.